One of the biggest struggles writers face is keeping their content visible. We think we have to constantly put new content on the blog, because that’s the only way people are going to find us, is if we constantly tweet out new content from our blogs.
Well, maybe not.
Just the Stats
First of all, pay attention to your blog statistics. Don’t obsess over them. But pay attention to your most-viewed blog pieces. Whatever blogging platform you’re using should give you some basic statistics, and most-viewed posts should be one of them. Those posts are popular for a reason. They resonated with readers, so it stands to reason that other people would like to read them. How do you get more people to read older posts? You retweet them.
I can hear a lot of you saying, “But how in the world are we supposed to remember to retweet stuff from last year, even if it was the most popular post I’ve ever written? I’m busy enough as it is, trying to write the next chapter of the next book, and the next blog post, and the next whatever. I don’t have time for this!”
You do. You just don’t realize it yet.
Drip marketing is sending the same message out over certain periods of time. I found a really neat Twitter service a while back called MissingLettr. They do drip marketing for Twitter, where they take the RSS feed from your blog and send out tweets at various intervals for the next year. It’s a very slick concept. Each blog post gets its own campaign, complete with automatically-chosen quotes and graphics, which is I think one of the coolest parts. The graphics themselves aren’t all that special, but the idea that MissingLettr figured out a way to automate is a very nice touch.
The service is available for one blog post and one social media account per week for free, which may well be enough for some people. But I try to post a couple times a week, and as much as I’d like to pay for a service like this, I really can’t afford $9.95/month which I think is a great price, by the way. It’s just that I’m broke, and trying to do things like this on a budget of about $0. That Personal level account covers 4 posts per week and up to 4 social media accounts, so you can cover Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and G+, for example.
Here’s what the campaign approval screen looks like. You can mass-approve posts, or look at and edit each individual one, which is what I recommend, if only because the hashtagging algorithm still needs to be tweaked a little. I suspect it’s done partially by wordcount, which isn’t a bad idea, but it can lead to some odd hashtags. In one campaign of mine, every post contained the hashtag “#think.” But that’s easy enough to fix in their interface.
Each blog post gets about eight posts throughout the year. They run four in the first 30 days, then the other four roughly quarterly after that. You can also pause or cancel a campaign at any time.
But as I mentioned, I’m broke, and always looking for ways to do things on a budget. While I can’t automate the scheduling the way they have, it was easy enough to figure out the intervals that MissingLettr is posting at, and create a spreadsheet that shows those intervals for me. Then I just have to remember to check that spreadsheet every couple of days, and schedule the posts in using Hootsuite.
Because I’m showing you how to do something that there’s a paid service for, I’m not going to give exact formulas, or make the spreadsheet available for download. This should be easy enough for you to set up on your own if you have any knowledge of Excel formulas, functions, and conditional formatting; I’m not using anything special.
Here’s how I do it.
My spreadsheet has 13 columns: the original tweet date, day of the week, and Twitter link; 8 columns to show the dates; then one column to list the basic tweet content, and another to remind me what image I used.
I use the second column mostly for personal preference, because I like to gather as much data as I can, even if it’s useless data (like knowing what day of the week I posted a tweet). That’s a simple Excel TEXT function.
For the future date columns, add the number in the top row to the original date column, and format the column as a date.
How do I get the coloring of the cells? Mostly via conditional formatting. You should only need two rules. I set the gray/shaded color first, by checking the value of the cell against the current date. Then I check the value of the cell against the date in 21 days and set those cells yellow. That shows me the upcoming dates easily enough. Every couple of days, I open the spreadsheet and schedule any posts that are yellow. Then I bold the cell to remind myself that I scheduled it. Cells marked in red I set manually to show myself that I didn’t schedule those (probably because I forgot to check the sheet in time).
Notice some rows are only partially filled in. Those are for the few tweets that I don’t think I want to keep promoting, like the one about why I chose Booktrope as my publisher. That decision process is still valid, but Booktrope has closed. So while I don’t mind someone finding the post via Google, I don’t know that I really want to keep promoting it. If that post were set up via MissingLettr, I’d just suspend the campaign.
New Post Campaign
Each time you make a new blog post or tweet that you’re going to want to repeat (like a promo tweet), copy the URL of the tweet, paste it into the Original tweet column, and fill in the Original Date. Then copy the formulas from the row above down to your current row. Depending on what interval you set in your second conditional formatting rule, the first 2-4 columns should light up yellow (or whatever color you chose) to remind you to schedule them.
Now head over to your dashboard at Hootsuite and paste your original tweet content in the post box. Next, schedule the post for one of the future dates. You can use the same 2-3 hashtags from the original, or check out hashtagify.me for other ideas. That’s a great opportunity for A/B testing. It’s easy enough to change graphics, too. Check out Quozio, Canva, or Pablo (by Buffer) for simple, quick (and free!) graphics.
Now go forth and create!
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